Why does Meditation Sound too Good to be True?

A man sitting on grass in the park and smiling with eyes closedMeditation helped make Steve Jobs a world-changing innovator. Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons swears by its benefits. Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Ray Dalio, and Jim Carrey all practice Transcendental Meditation.

Articles about the benefits of sitting in meditation are everywhere. And yet only 8% of people—18 million Americans—practice meditation regularly.

The argument behind signing up for meditation is very strong. But to people that haven’t tried it yet, meditation still sounds too good to be true.

And here’s 3 reasons why, as uplifting and life-changing as it can be, meditation still hasn’t caught on yet:

#1 – MAINSTREAM CULTURE TEACHES US THAT WE NEED EXTERNAL STIMULATION TO FEEL GOOD

Turn on your television at any given time of day—on any given channel. And you’ll see lots of commercials from companies trying to sell you happiness, anxiety-relief, or stress release in a bottle or a pill.

Or better yet, ask the people around you what they usually do to or where they usually go to blow off steam, relax, or feel good. In lots of cases, people will tell you that they consume something—an external influence—to make themselves feel good internally.

Wine. Beer. Liquor. Prescription Medication. Cigarettes. Drugs. Substances. Food. Entertainment. Relationships.

We rely on external stimulation—some of which is really bad for our health—to make us feel good. Our culture teaches us to believe that we are incomplete, that we need something external—some product, some drink, some drug, some T.V. show, or some person—to feel happy.

This truth never hit me harder than after I quit drinking alcohol about one year and nine months ago in April of 2014. People that drink often tell me they can’t imagine getting off alcohol. It’s hard for drinkers to imagine quitting because we accept this false assumption that we need to consume or receive external stimulation to feel good.

Before I got off alcohol, I bought into it too. I couldn’t imagine being permanently sober because I thought I needed to drink to feel good.

But I couldn’t have been more wrong.

As I replaced alcohol’s presence in my life with meditation in 2014, I realized that true happiness comes from within.

Mainstream culture teaches us that we need external stimulation to feel good. But truth be told, we don’t need any external influence to feel happy. True, lasting fulfilment is self-generated. And the best way to self-generate your happiness is through meditation.

Unfortunately, to people who haven’t started yet, meditation sounds too good to be true because they’ve bought into that myth that we need outside substances and stimuli to feel good.

#2 – NOT MANY POSITIVE REFERENCES ARE OUT THERE BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE DON’T MEDITATE

How many people do you know that practice meditation? Aside from myself, I can barely think of any people I know that practice meditation on a daily or regular basis.

According to a recent survey by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, only about 8% of United States adults practice meditation. That means a vast majority of us—92% of people—are not meditators.

The fact that your mother, father, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, co-workers, best friends, and peers most likely aren’t meditators is a huge setback to embracing the practice of sitting in the stillness. Because human beings have a hard mentality—a hard-wired tendency—of generally gravitating to stuff that everyone else is already doing. People like to keep up with the Joneses. People need positive references—positive examples of what meditation can do for you—to commit to meditating once or twice a day.

And even though meditation is more popular now than it’s ever been, we still don’t have enough positive references.

#3 – WE GET SO ACCUSTOMED TO ANXIETY, STRESS, AND DEPRESSION, THAT WE THINK THERE’S NO OTHER WAY TO LIVE

Anxiety, stress, and depression can consume you.

When you spend years and years or decades and decades of your life with a mind that is occupied by lots of negative emotions, you may start to falsely think that those dark emotions are your true nature.

That’s what causes lots of people—especially the people who need it the most—to hesitate to sign up for meditation. We get so accustomed to feeling worked up, wound up, stressed out, anxious, or sad that we begin to think that those darker emotions are who we are. And we assume that there’s no way out—no other way to live.

If you’ve been anxious your whole life, you’ve got no reason to believe that you could one day live anxiety free. If you have been depressed for ten years, it’s hard to imagine that sitting in meditation could cure your sadness. And if you’re a type-A personality who lives in the constant stress of the work-grind, you’re probably going to assume that being stressed out all the time is your only option.

This is the number one reason why people who need meditation the most—the most anxious, angry, stressed, fearful, or depressed among us think meditation sounds too good to be true:

We get so accustomed to anxiety, stress, and depression, that we think there’s no other way to live

THE WAY OUT OF DARKNESS IS WITHIN

True happiness lies within. And one of the most powerful ways to tap into that mental state of pure fulfilment is sitting in meditation.

To lots and lots of people that haven’t tried it yet, that Sounds Too Good To Be True. But it is.

Due to the fact that only 8% of the population meditates, sitting in the stillness is a tough path to choose. But doing so could be the best decision you’ve ever made. Because embracing meditation will show you that you don’t need outside influences to make yourself feel good. You’ll self-generate a permanent level of happiness to fall back on when things go wrong.

And by tapping into this great secret for fulfilment, creativity, motivation, stress-relief, and tranquillity, you’ll see that the path out of those dark emotions you’ve been struggling with for so long has been right there with you the whole time. You’ll see that The Way Out Of The Darkness Is Within.

Bo Muchoki,

Daily Zen.

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